You’ve heard before that sitting for long periods of time is hazardous to your health. That’s why daily exercise is so important. But a new analysis of 47 studies takes it a step further. Even for those that get daily exercise, sitting too much may kill you.
Researchers found that sitting too much for long periods of time, as most of us do during the work day, causes an increase risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain kinds of cancers, and overall early death. The new research, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that the risk of overall poor health is more common in those that sit a lot. So whether you are typing away on your laptop or couch surfing after a long day’s work, sitting for between six and 11 hours daily isn’t good.
In those that exercised regularly, the risk of early death went down by 30 percent but it was still 16 percent higher than in those who didn’t sit a lot. With regards to type 2 diabetes, the statistics were staggering. The risk of the chronic disease went up by 90 percent in those who sat all day. And the risks of cardiovascular disease and certain kinds of cancers were less pronounced but still evident. The risk of cardiovascular disease went up by 18 percent in those that sat a lot and the risk of cancer went up by 13-16 percent. Researchers looked at the risk of breast, colon, colorectal, endometrial, and ovarian cancer, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Other studies have linked chronic inactivity to certain types of cancer. Breast cancer and colon cancer were the most dependent on physical activity, with 49,000 and 42,000 cases each year caused by excessive sitting, according to Christine Friedenreich, an epidemiologist at Alberta Health Services-Cancer Care in Canada. The study found that "an estimated 37,200 cases of lung cancer, 30,600 cases of prostate cancer, 12,000 cases of endometrial cancer and 1,800 cases of ovarian cancer could be prevented if people were more physically active."
This doesn’t mean that you need to quit your job. And if you can’t afford a standing desk, that’s ok too. But there are steps that you can take to avoid the fate of longtime sitters. Get up every 30 minutes and walk around for a few minutes. If you work from home it’s even easier. I’m a freelance writer so I get up between writing tasks to do a house chore or take the dogs for a walk. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but I’m definitely aware of how often I spend sitting. At night avoid spending too much time sitting and watching television. Or if you want to watch the tube, do some simple exercises while you’re watching.
How often do you spend sitting everyday? Is it at your desk job or in your leisure time?
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